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Large Intestines
July 2003

Q. I had a barium enema and the radiologist commented that I had an extra 2-4 feet of large intestine. Could this be related to megacolon? Is it advisable to have the extra colon removed as I suffer from stomach aches constantly and have a large bulge on the right side of my colon? I have already had one surgery to close a ventricle hernia. Are there web links so I can read up on this and other related problems?

A. The main focus in your evaluation should be to find the diagnosis for the pains you are having. I assume that is why the barium enema was done, to examine the health of the large intestine, looking for cancer, colitis, and other important conditions.

Additional tests might include an endoscopy which takes a direct look into the stomach, and colonoscopy which looks directly into the colon. It is not clear that the extra length of intestine is related to your symptoms, so consult your doctor.

Megacolon is unrelated to what you describe; it is a serious complication of some other underlying disease such as ulcerative colitis. The ventral hernia is a tear in the muscle wall of the abdomen and is also unrelated to health of the intestine. Colon cancer is the 2nd leading cancer in the U.S. and testing for this is recommended for all persons over age 50.

http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/digest/pubs/overview/overview.htm

http://www.cancer.org/docroot/cri/content/cri_2_4_1x_what
_is_colon_and_rectum_cancer.asp?sitearea=cri

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